I spend about 45 mins everyday commuting (less than 2 miles) to work on a formal dress, shoes, carrying a backpack that consists of a laptop, charger and little more stationery (about 10-12 pounds, I guess), amd probably get groceries way back home (5 pounds of stuff or so)
During weekends, I run errands for about 3-10 miles each day. I own no car, no scooter, no other vehicle. The only mode of transport is by bus, train majorly, perhaps walk and live in a 2nd floor house (but I don't mind carrying it up a 45 degree stairs). I even like to go off road during weekends, but that seems to be asking for more, but it would be great to have a bike that will atleast allow me to reach a hiking spot (slight muddy roads etc).
So with these things on mind, and a budget of $200 (I can double if its worth it, as this is the way its going to be for next 5 years atleast), I've been browsing and looking at different posts here. Particularly its focused on UK products but I live in US, New York; and I feel the bikes specifically are different than those available here, and the pricing. But few other links pointed out me very well, especially Jeol's choice of scooter and bike. Other option is Dahon c7 folding bike
The choice of different options and the upside price really confuses as me, a first timer. I am a software engineer living in New Jersey and travelling to New York by PATH/Subway trains so anyone who is of the same commute, please share your current choice, and the take away from it.
I had a ligament tear a year ago on the right knee, recovering but still finding it tough to walk on formal shoes in particular, and more painful to run errands walking during weekends. Kindly cast your recommendations. I am looking for a few choices so I can narrow it down, but right now I am even unable to oversee what I would need exactly for my purpose, and the choice of geek transportation system is worth the price.
Update after a year of bike usage in New York City and then Southern California
I bought a Dahon Vitesse from Craigslist and used for about 6 months in NYC. It was fun, very useful for errands. The thing I hated is lifting the bike up-and-down on the Subways. The folder though small is not the light-weight stuff.
I had moved to SoCal, did not have a car and badly wanted some bike to get groceries and food (public transport is pretty bad - wait 1 hour for a bus). I again went for a Dahon, this time the D7 model, and a brand new one. Still the bike is useful but for the nature of the city I think I should have gone for a light weight full hybrid bike.
The Dahon folder is great to commute for up to 10 miles for me. Great for plains, not so for elevated areas.